Viruddha Ahara: Incompatible food combinations

Viruddha Ahara:

The word Viruddha leads to two factors i.e. on combining two, three things, the stronger one shades or overpowers the weaker ingredients. It has been stated that in a combination of so many opposite qualities, the majority of the power-packed qualities overpower the weaker qualities.

The second meaning of Viruddha indicates the combination of two substances which are not having an affinity for each other. It has been applied in Ayurveda in the context of dietetics & various combinations having such affinity for each other. Such type of Ahara or foodstuff which is composed of substances having no affinity at all may be defined as Viruddha or Viruddhahara

Simply……Ahara that which vitiates dosha and which is antagonist to the dhatu in the body is known as viruddhaahara.

Various other terms are also used such as –

Ananukula or Pratikula (Shabda Kalpadrum) –which is having an adverse effect or unfavorable

Anapayukta – which is unpropitious

Pratisiddha – prohibited

Apathya – incompatible diet


It causes:
Napumsakata (impotency), aandhya (blindness), visarpa (herpis), udakodara (ascitis), visphota (boils), unmade (mental disorders), bhagandara (fistula in ano), moorcha (fainting), mada (intoxication), aadhmana (bloated ness of abdomen), galagraha (stiffness or obstruction in the throat), paandu (anemia), aama visha (Diseases due the semi digested food), kilasa (vitiligo), kushta (skin diseases), grahani gada (disorders of digestion), shoth (oedema), amlapitta (acidity), jwara (fever), peenasa (coryza), Santana doshas (different anomalies of the fetus or newborn), mrutyu (death). These can happen to a person who takes viruddha ahara
Charaka 26.102, 103

The one who takes different types of viruddha food will suffer from different diseases, weakness of sense organs and death.

Sushruta 20.19
Regular intake of the viruddha ahara causes Visphota(boils), shopha (oedema), mada (intoxication), vidradhi (abcess), gulma (abdominal tumors), yakshma (tuberculosis). It will also destroy the teja (luster), bala (strength- physical and immunity), smriti (memory), mati (intellect), indriya (sense organs), chitta (mind) of the person. It can also lead to major diseases like jwara (fever), raktapitta (bleeding disorder), Kushta (skin diseases), ashmari( stones), prameha (urinary disorders), udara (abdominal diseases), Bhagandara (fistula in ano), arsha (piles), grahani (digestive disorders). It may cause death of the person like poison.
Astanga Sangraha 9.29




Types of Viruddha Ahara:

Ayurveda has described various types of Viruddha, which run as under :

Desha (place) Viruddha: To have dry and sharp substances in dry region, unctuous substances in marshy land.

Kala Viruddha: (Time): intake of cold and dry substances in Winter, Pungent and hot substances in Summer.

Agni *(digestive power) Viruddha: intake of heavy food when the power of digestion is low, intake of light food when the power of digestion is sharp and intake of food at variance with irregular and normal power of digestion.

Matra (quantity) Viruddha: intake of honey and ghee in equal quantity

Satmya (wholesome) Viruddha: intake of sweet and cold substance by person accustomed to pungent and hot substance.

Dosha Viruddha: utilization of drugs, diets and regimen having similar qualities with Dosha, but at variance with the habit of the individual.

Sanskara (mode of preparation) Viruddha: drugs and diets which, when prepared in a particular way produced poisonous effects. E.g. meat of peacock roasted on a castor spit.

Virya (potency) Viruddha: Substances having cold potency in combination with those of hot potency.

Koshtha Viruddha: to give less quantity with less potency and less stool forming food to a person of costive bowel. Administration of more quantity heavy and more stool forming food to a person having laxed bowel.

Avastha (State of health) Viruddha: intake of Vata aggravating food by a person after exertion sexual act, physical exertion or intake of Kapha aggravating food by a person after sleep or drowsiness.

Krama (sequence) Viruddha: if a person takes food before his bowel and urination or when he doesn’t have the appetite or after his hunger has been aggravating.

Parihar Viruddha: Intake of hot things after taking pork etc.

Upachar (treatment) Viruddha: cold things after taking ghee.

Paaka (cooking) Viruddha: preparation of food with bad or rotten fuel and undercooking, overcooking or burning during the process of preparation.

Samyoga (combination) Viruddha: intake of sour substance with milk

Hriday Viruddha: intake of unpleasant food

Sampad (Richness of quality) Viruddha: intake of substance that is not mature, over matured or putrified

Vidhi (rules for eating) Viruddha: taking meals in public place


Many food combinations are given in the texts as incompatible with proper explanation for e.g.

One should not take fish along with milk because this combination is Abhishyandi (great obstructer for channels), it vitiates blood.

After eating radish, garlic, basil one should not take milk because of the risk of skin disorders.

All sour liquids are antagonistic to milk.

Hot honey taken by a person induces toxicity and lead to death.

Likewise, honey and ghee in equal quantity, hot water after taking honey are antagonistic.


Examples of Incompatibility/ Antagonistic (Viruddha -Aahara)

1) Virya viruddha- (potency incompatibility) – Fish + milk

2) Sanskara viruddha- (Processing incompatibility) Heated Honey

3) Matra viruddha- (dose incompatibility) – Honey + Cow’s ghee – mixed in equal proportion.

4) Krama viruddha – Hot water after taking honey

5) Kala viruddha- (Time incompatibility) Pungent substance in summer & Cold substances in winter

6) Krama viruddha- (Order incompatibility) – Consuming curd at night.

7) Samyoga viruddha- (Combination incompatibility) – Fruit Salad / Milk+ Banana

8) Parihara viruddha (contraindication incompatibility) – Consuming cold water immediately after having hot tea or Coffee.

But it is all actually “western’ scientific as well……
The eighteen types of viruddha ahara; desha, kala, agni, matra, etc. are understood with the help of examples like Agni viruddha
In mandagni condition consuming guru snigdha ahara.
In a condition like dyspepsia where impairment in gastric, bile, pancreatic secretions are present, due to increased intake of mamsala ahara which are rich in amino acids and lipids impaired metabolism.
*****Satmya viruddha person satmya with katu ushna dravya sevana consuming increased swadu sheeta dravya. (this would be the same as drastically  and oppositionally changing your diet because you read a book or read a blog or following the latest fad)
Persons habituated with rich spicy diet like pepper which causes irritation of gastric mucosa leading to increased gastric juice secretion, if increased intake of chilled soft drinks in such persons causes constriction of gastric mucosa leading to less gastric juice secretion.
Avastha viruddha after nidra consuming kaphavardhka ahara like curd. After sleep basal metabolic rate of the body is reduced , curd which is rich in fats and carbohydrates requires more time for digestion.
The rest types of viruddha ahara are analyzed and understood scientifically in the same manner as explained above.

9 thoughts on “Viruddha Ahara: Incompatible food combinations

    • You can put a banana in milk for your own experiment and see what happens. It turns into a gross mess. Curdles the milk and everything. This is due to it both of their qualities. It is entirely indigestible. Great if you want to create skin diseases. Add into it excessive exercise, specially right after eating this. Skin diseases in no time flat.

    • Put them together in a glass and let it sit for a while then tell me what happens to it. This also is happening inside you. Doesn’t digest.

    • Mmmm. In the west banana smoothies are so common.
      So that’s why there are mango lassi and no banana lassi, I presume.
      Do you have any books on Ayurveda in English that you recommend? I have Eat, Taste, Heal.

  1. Half of the stuff in that book is actually wrong. Lots of improper combining. The knowledge has been watered down in the west tremendously. i would read stuff by Dr R H Singh or Dr. Kulkarni to start out. Just be careful, there is a lot of emphasis put upon the Vata Pitta and Kapha diets in most books out there and it is not a correct view. It takes time to understand the paradigm. Another book that I like but is watered down is Maya Tiwari’s Life of balance. The ancient texts speak of the seasonal regime but there is no talk of these diet plans. You can take from that in this being stated the seasonal regime is much more improtant to understand and live by. If there is no big imbalance, the person following the seasonal regime will find more and more health.

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